Homemade Xylitol Candy

Xylitol Hard Candies

Welcome intrepid confectioner, xylitol hard candies are actually easier to make at home than regular sugar {sucrose} hard candies, however you cannot use the same methods. Unlike sucrose where you are pyrolyzing the sugar to form different flavor molecules and a liquid amalgam that will harden to a desired consistency without crystallizing; homemade xylitol candies are made by creating a specific type of crystalline solid. Yes, I am a chemist ... deal with it.

Since most people who find this page are probably just looking for some quick DIY {Do It Yourself} instructions, I'll do that first and THEN explain what is happening and why I'm using a somewhat odd procedure ... later.

* Warning for people with Animals *

  1. Xylitol 25g {approx. 2 flat tablespoons}
  2. Small glass jar {glass not metal or plastic}
  3. Coffee cup warmer {25W read feedback link for more info}
  4. Flavorant {optional}
  5. Parchment paper {aluminum foil is ok, wax paper is not}
  6. Two clothespins or more {just clips of some kind}
This procedure was designed to be cheap and doable without having to buy much of anything. It really is too but if you are someone who just wants to know what to buy to have everything work I added an Equipment link.

Melting Xylitol

Place the xylitol in the glass jar, then heat on the coffee cup warmer, if you are using a lid make sure it is loose so the expanding air can escape or do not cover. The time needed will depend on your model but expect it to take 30 to 45 minutes to melt completely the first time. It's faster the next time after everything is warmed up.

While the xylitol is melting make your pour moulds. This is just long strips of parchment paper 15 inches long and 3 or 4 inches wide folded over with the ends sealed and held together with clothespins/clips. The ends do not need to be sealed very well ... I typically just fold them once or twice then put a clothespin on or a big clip, the final length should be about 13 inches.

Xylitol Pour Mould

I originally started with a simple boat form which works fine but is a little flimsy and the liquid xylitol spreads out a little more than I liked. However, it's a simple matter to use more clips to pull the sides together or use books or something to push the sides closer.

Xylitol Pour Mould Frame

Now I use some cardboard made into a V-shape and two clips to hold the parchment closed and in place when I pour the xylitol.

The cardboard has some thermal advantages if you want your syrup to cool evenly and a bit slower but either method works. If you make a lot of candy the cardboard is just nicer and easier to work with.

Now that your form is ready when your xylitol is completely melted you can add a flavorant if desired. Adding flavor compounds is what makes this whole process tricky since this is essentially adding an impurity to a substance that wants to crystallize. Adding too much or the wrong thing will produce a syrup that will not harden or some type of quasi amorphous polycrystalline solid {aka "not good eats" ode to Alton Brown}

So here are two things that I know work UnSweetened Kool-Aid® powder and Lorann Hard Candy Flavoring Oils. With Kool-Aid you only need the tiniest amount {I use 5mg} for a light pink subtle flavor. If you prefer you can just add some and eye it by color ... give it a minute or two to dissolve, it takes longer without water. The end result is a tart Jolly Rancher® like candy ... look at the picture at the top left of this page ... the red is Jolly Rancher like, the pink and light pink use the same powder just much less. If you use LorAnn's flavor oils {aka "super strength" candy oils} try 5 drops for 25grams. It depends on what flavor you are using but I generally use 3 to 5 drops ... your tastes may vary ... but I've tried more than a dozen different LorAnn flavors and they all work great.

The easy part, pour your liquid goodness into the parchment mould just do Not try and scrape out every last drop. If it doesn't drip out leave it for the next batch. Seriously!

Now walk away ... really ... do something else for 20 or 30 minutes. What you have is a supercooled liquid and you want it to stay that way until it gets close to room temperature. Do NOT try to rush it or blow air over it or any number of clever tricks ... your patience will be rewarded {yes more Alton Brownisms}

After 20 or 30 minutes it will be just a little warm and if you look at it it will hopefully be all liquid still. If not don't panic it's probably fine ... but now is the time when you add a little sprinkling of xylitol crystals over the top. Just a pinch over the surface, these are "seed" crystals which will act as nucleating centers to begin crystallization and form the desired hard xylitol candy.

The hard part, it's going to take atleast 24 hours to fully harden and I usually wait 48 hours. Again your patience will be rewarded ... if you crack them open too soon the center will still be liquid. When they are fully set just break into candy sized pieces and enjoy!!!

Real Homemade Xylitol Candy Examples

The result of this process is a long stick that can easily be broken into bite sized pieces. I've made little cubes, squares and of course pasteles. In the end I always go back to these sticks {"XylisigsTM}. The results are not beautiful confections and you will find the occasional bubble hole or pipe formation but the results are good enjoyable "hard" candies and not crumbly sugar cubes.

Additionally this method lends itself well to a lot of useful tricks like 20ppm colloidal silver hard candies and/or eugenol extracted {clove oil} hard candies. Since xylitol is tooth friendly and both colloidal silver and eugenol are used for tooth aches and cold sores it just seemed like a no brainer to make these.

* WARNING : Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and quite likely cats too though to a lesser extent. When working with xylitol please keep in mind that like table sugar it is easy to accidentally spill a little on the floor while working. Dogs and cats lick their paws! so be vigilant and very very careful!!!